I went looking for a dark rum because I needed one for the Cafe con Leche Flip. There were several on the market but I quickly became aware of the many differences in how they were marketed and constructed. For starters there aren’t any real regulations about how rums are classed. There are rums, rum liqueurs and flavored rums. Beyond that you’re pretty much on your own in the wilds of marketing speak.
From the little research I’ve done so far the black strap from Cruzan is fairly similar to their aged dark with the addition of extra molasses beyond the normal distillation. When they add the molasses is up for some debate. I’m personally betting that they add it after barrel aging as the extra sugar wouldn’t go over well in the oak.
Cruzan makes a pretty awesome rum normally but I was shocked that their Black Strap was actually pretty comparable price wise to my previous standby Meyers. I paid $14 for this bottle and was glad for the privilege. Many of the other “dark” rums on the shelf were in the $35-50 range which was well outside my limits for an unknown quantity.
The smells coming off of this bottle were puzzling. Unlike the more vanilla and sugar smells of meyers there were hints of heavy oak, clove, coffee and some other less identifiable items. A couple of solo sips almost killed this for me. The rum is actually a bit bitter and the spice notes do not help to bring it back around. There isn’t actually any sweetness in the rum, it is not a liqueur. The molasses is prevalent but it occurred to me afterwards that black strap molasses is the final extract of the sugar process. It is the gunk left over after you’ve squeezed every last white grain of sucrose out of the liquid that you can.
Fortunately I went straight from sips to cocktails and dropped this into my cafe con leche flip. The results were an eye opener, the heavy flavors and bitterness were entirely gone and the spice, rum and oak were on full display.
Unlike a spiced rum the spice notes are not the primary flavor. It’s not picking up a cinnamon stick and beating your drink over the head, it is a light shake of pepper and coriander on an otherwise deep black rum.
If you don’t already have a go-to tiki rum I would strongly suggest picking up a bottle of this. At least until I start making my own ;).
The original version of this drink comes via a news story in the New York Times about the health department cracking down on raw eggs used in cocktails. This specific recipe was inspired by the one served at Pegu Club in New York.
Good dark rums are heavy on the ground so picking one is pretty easy. If you have one you like use that instead but I used a new Cruzan Blackstrap as I have been looking for a good dark rum for some time and wanted to try it out.
Similarly in Portland coffee liqueurs are a dime a dozen. You can’t throw a hipster belt buckle without hitting a distillery that makes a coffee liqueur. A lot of it comes down to base spirit and the roaster they’re using but anything from the Below deck Coffee Rum to the House Spirits liqueur will work, use what makes you feel good.
Medium cream (30% fat) might be a little hard to find. I hit three or four stores looking but didn’t see any. I eventually subbed in normal whipping cream (25% fat) as it was a little lower fat than medium but significantly less than heavy cream (45%+)
1 oz Dark Rum
1.5 oz coffee liqueur
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz medium cream
1 Egg yolk
Fresh grated nutmeg
This one is going to take some doing. First put your simple syrup and egg yolks in a dry shaker. Using a whisk or frother you’ll want to whip them really well. Next add the cream and ice and give them a good shake to combine. Add your alcohol and give it a final shake with ice, strain into double old fashioned or flute and grate nutmeg over the top.
I used a cheap frother I picked up at the kitchen gadget outlet store and it worked great. I wanted to replace the ice in this for the second shake but after looking at the results I thought it was more work for not much difference in result.
The flavor on this is delightful, the egg yolk gives the entire drink a solid mouthfeel. The coffee flavor is primary but the dark rum lets the cream and sweet flow into more subtle hints of molasses. It’s almost like a whipped dessert and slides gently around the tongue. The dark rum and coffee flavors favor each other well and give a nice spiciness without a heavy or syrupy taste.
The thing that caught my eye at the Rogue Distillery and Public House was a drink called a daisy. A daisy is a class of drink with no specific spirit base. You can make one with brandy, whiskey, rum or anything really. The basic ideal is soda water added to spirit, citrus and sweetener. It’s a precursor to the Cosmo, the sidecar and the margarita.
The Ginger Rum Daisy is a wonderfully refreshing drink. I chose mine with dark rum as I wanted a clear taste on this before I started playing with hazelnut. The ginger syrup and the lemon juice are a great concoction and rum is a sweet smooth way to bring all of this together.
Because this is served over ice with soda it’s not a strong drink. You’re not going to taste a lot of alcohol in something this large. For the price this was a pretty good drink. It does make me want to make my own ginger syrup since I like this drink a lot more than the Palomas I’ve been drinking lately.